I believe we’ve all heard about BeKnown by now. It’s a Facebook application, which allows users to connect with their Facebook friends in a professional way. The functionalities are very similar to Linkedin but the interface is much more similar to Facebook, combining aspects from both networks.
The app is powered by Monster.com, one of the largest employment websites in the world. They advert BeKnown as a network that provides users with more convenience, control and connections. It all makes sense, at least in theory.
Increasing your network
Once you install BeKnown one of the first things it asks you to do is to invite your Facebook friends to join your network. I started BeKnown with zero connections. One day after it launched I received two invites from Facebook friends. A couple of days passed and my network did not increase, which made me realise I had to start inviting people. After one day, only one person accepted my invite to join BeKnown. Which makes me wonder, how much potential does this network within a network concept will work?
Comparing with LinkedIn, which currently has more than 150 million users and a good number of monthly visitors, Facebook is still the winner with more than 800 million and very high usage. So it might be that Facebook has more potential? Not sure, since the audience is not exactly the same. Remember, we still believe Linkedin is the most important social network.
BeKnown imports information about your experience and education from your Facebook profile, that’s how I instantly won two badges. Rookie, which everyone gets once you install BeKnown. And the other was Loyal, which I got because I have a 2+ year experience at one single company. I thought it was a fun and clever use of badges, but not sure how professional you can say that is.
The fact you’re able to add a profile picture for BeKnown only is great. It’s an essential feature that allows you to have the looking and feel of a more professional network.
See examples and skip tasks
BeKnown wants you to be up and running in their network, so it keeps showing you messages when parts of your profile are not complete. I simply loved the way they did it! Linkedin could learn some lessons here. To complete the remaining fields in my CV it shows me a specific task, which I can decide to skip and another task will show up. Very clever!
I also liked how BeKnown shows examples for the different fields in the profile. When you decide to write your summary you can click on “see examples” and it will explain what it expects you to write giving you an actual example. Genius. Very helpful.
This feature is not very different from Monster.com does.
But there is one feature I really liked – Jobs for Friends. This shows what jobs match your connections. At first, this doesn’t sound very interesting and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But when you see the reward icon, you get excited. You’re able to make money by recommending your friends. Right now in my network there’s a job matching one of my connections, this specific job would pay me $369 for a recommendation. How cool is that?
It is hard to get connections. You or your friends might not be interested in maintaining a professional relationship, specially through Facebook. Professional networks are not like Facebook networks. It not only about who you know. It’s about who you know and will add value to you, either now or in the future. And let’s be honest, I don’t think 80% of my Facebook friends would.
It is more playful. I don’t say that only because of the badges, even though they are a very different element from other professional networks. It’s about the language and features such as skiping tasks and see examples. I like that, it makes it more fun.
A network within a network won’t work. I don’t think this concept will work. We’ve seen some other apps doing that on Facebook, but most of them were games. Even though BeKnown and Facebook have totally different purposes, I don’t believe someone can maintain two different networks in one single space (with the same friends!). It gets confusing. People quit MySpace to go to Facebook in the US, in Brazil people are quitting Orkut to go to Facebook. I believe you can only maintain two when you have a different and more segmented group of people, like Linkedin is for me.
And how about you, did you have a chance to play around with BeKnown? Please share your thoughts, I’d love to know whether I’m the only one who doesn’t see a long future for this application.
Further reading at: How Generation Y Use Facebook for Professional Networking (Infographic).
Cristina Dresch is part of the social recruiting training team at Link Humans in London.